Hulu Data Usage

Though you are allowed to watch as many movies and TV shows on Hulu as you want, you should still monitor and regulate your Hulu usage.  This is because your Internet service provider (ISP) may impose limits on the amount of computer information that you can transfer over your Internet connection (commonly referred to as “data” or “bandwidth”) per month.  If you go over that limit, your ISP may charge you extra money on your utilities bill and/or slow down your Internet connection.

How much data does Hulu use?

Fortunately, among its competitors, Hulu is one of the most economical video-streaming services when it comes to data usage.  An hour of watching video on Hulu at the highest quality requires about 650 megabytes — or 0.65 gigabytes — of data.  By comparison, Netflix requires anywhere from 1 to 3 full gigabytes of data per hour of video.  Assuming that you had a 250-gigabyte monthly data cap, and the month had 30 days, that means that you could watch about 13 hours of video per day at the highest quality on Hulu!

This, of course, is dependent on other factors as well, including how fast your Internet connection is.  It also assumes that you’ll ONLY be using the Internet to watch Hulu and not for anything else (which, in all likelihood, will not be your situation).

Tips for managing your Hulu data usage

If you’re really worried about how much data Hulu is using — for instance, if you’re using another Internet service that requires a lot of data, such as another video streamer like Netflix — then there are a couple of tricks that you can use to manage your data usage.

1. Reduce the quality setting of the videos that you watch

While you’re watching a video on Hulu, you can change its resolution quality.  Simply click the Settings icon in the Hulu video player, and under “Quality”, select Low, Medium, High, or Auto.

Hulu video quality adjust for reducing data usage

Auto will adjust your video quality to be as good as what Hulu thinks your Internet connection speed can handle.  If you want to save data, you can intentionally set your video quality to Low.  The video will appear a little bit grainy, but not so bad as to be totally unrecognizable.

See our How to Watch Hulu on Computer tutorial (here) for more information about using the Hulu video player.

2. Contact your ISP and ask about your Internet data usage

Common companies that provide Internet connections and other home telecommunications services include Comcast, Shaw, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable.  Find out which of these (or perhaps another company) sends you your monthly Internet bill, and contact them to find out how much Internet data you use each month.  More importantly, ask them whether or not you have a limit on your monthly Internet usage.  If not, ask them if the monthly cost of your Internet usage is tied in any way to how much you use it.  This will give you some guidelines that you can use to plan your monthly Internet use.

3. Use a data calculator program to estimate your Internet usage

There are some websites and programs, such as on, that allow you to estimate and plan your monthly Internet data usage.  Just set a data cap, plug in the number of hours that you use the Internet for various activities per month, and then see if you’ve gone over your cap.  This will show you the areas in which you need to cut back your Internet usage.


That’s a bit of information about how much data Hulu uses, and how you can manage it!

How Much Does Hulu Cost? And When Is it Free?

Is Hulu free?

Hulu does give you the option to use it with a free account.  However, doing so limits the amount of content that you can access on Hulu.  For example, for some TV shows, you will only be able to watch the first five episodes, instead of the entire season.  In addition, some movies or programs may not be available at all.  You can also only watch Hulu on your desktop computer with a free account.

How much can Hulu cost?

There are two subscriptions services on Hulu that cost money: Hulu Plus, and the Showtime Premium Add-On.

How much does Hulu Plus cost?

A subscription to Hulu Plus costs $7.99 per month.

Subscribing to Hulu Plus unlocks additional content, such as full seasons of television shows and exclusive programs that you won't find anywhere else.  A subscription to Hulu Plus also allows you to watch videos on devices other than your desktop computer, such as tablet computers, smart phones, and video game consoles.  You also get to watch Hulu shows in high definition video quality.

How much does the Showtime Premium Add-On cost?

The Showtime Premium Add-On costs $8.99 per month.  Combined with the cost of Hulu Plus, both subscriptions together will cost you $16.98 per month.

Subscribing to the Showtime Premium Add-On unlocks even more content from Hulu for you to watch on both your desktop computer and other devices.  This includes award-winning television shows such as Homeland, Ray Donovan, Dexter, and Penny Dreadful.  It also includes blockbuster movies such as The Giver, Need for Speed, and Boyhood.  Plus, you can also watch the Showtime Channel live on your desktop computer through Hulu!


That's a bit of information about the costs associated with using Hulu!

Hulu Review

Do you want to see what Hulu can do for you?  Before you get started, have a look at the strong and weak points of the service that we've picked out for you.


  • Free version available — You can use Hulu for free, although doing so limits you to a small number of movies and television shows, and usually only five episodes of a show.

  • Check out TV's latest hits — Hulu has a small selection of movies that you can watch, but its main focus is television shows.  Hulu has many of the latest small-screen gems, and a few classics as well.  The service also gets episodes of these shows faster than competing services; in some cases, you can set your account up to watch a new episode of your favourite show the day after it airs live!

  • Queue up a "to-watch" list — If you don't have time to watch an episode of your favourite show right now, you can add it to your queue.  Then, you can go back and pick up where you left off.  You can even add shows to your "Favourites" list and have it add new episodes to your queue automatically!

  • Be a critic on any size screen — In addition to watching movies and TV shows on Hulu, you can also rate them and comment on them (including individual episode).  Discuss every performance, plot twist, music selection, and more with Hulu's community of viewers!  You will need to connect your Hulu account to your Facebook account to do so, though.

  • Hulu on the go — In addition to watching Hulu on your desktop computer, you can also watch it on your mobile device, smart TV, specialized media player (such as Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV), or even your video game console!  You may need to purchase a subscription to Hulu Plus to do so, though.


  • Diamonds are forever; shows aren't — Some movies and television episodes may only stay on Hulu for a limited amount of time, due to various business and legal reasons.  Fortunately, you can set Hulu up to alert you when these shows are going to disappear soon, so you can watch them before they're gone.

  • It's an ad, ad world — Hulu often puts advertisements between some segments of a television episode or movie, even if you have a Hulu Plus subscription.  Hulu says that they do this to keep their subscription price low, but it's still annoying.  Deal with the ads as best as you can.

  • Only in America — Due to licensing restrictions, Hulu can only be accessed by Internet addresses in the United States (though there are some exceptions for military personnel abroad).  There are some countermeasures to this policy (most of which are perfectly legal, and are how we were able to write this course from Canada!), but not all of them work all of the time.

The bottom line: 7.5/10

If you're a fan of TV, you'll likely be a fan of Hulu, too.  Hulu has over 150 television shows in its library, from full seasons of old favourites to the latest episodes of current must-see TV.  You can watch Hulu from your desktop computer, or on your mobile device, smart TV, digital media player, or video game console.  Add shows to your "Favourites" list and episodes (or even full seasons!) to your queue so you know what to watch next.  Or, check out your viewing history to remember what you were watching last.  You can even hold discussions with fellow users on your favourite shows and episodes.  Best of all, you can try the full version for free for a week when you sign up!

Hulu has some serious strikes against it, though.  For one thing, the free version is very limited, in terms of both content and accessibility.  Often having to watch commercials in-between movie or show segments on Hulu, even if you have a premium account, is also irritating (why not just watch regular TV, then?).  And the fact that you can only watch Hulu while on American soil means that you're usually out of luck if you want to watch Hulu while on vacation in Europe or elsewhere.

Overall, we'd recommend it if you're a television buff looking to re-watch your favourite classics, or catch up and/or stay up-to-date with the must-watch shows on the air today.  It's also good for those who are into "hidden gem" classic or foreign movies; you might want to use it together with a service like Netflix (which specializes more in movies than in TV shows) for that.

What are Hulu and Hulu Plus?

Let’s face it: life’s busy, and you don’t always have time to sit down in front of your TV and watch the latest episode of your favourite show.  But what do you do if that happens?  Do you record the episode?  Wait for a rerun to come on?  Watch the next episode and hope that there’s a pre-show recap that can help you fill in the blanks?

If you’ve ever wished that you could watch the hottest shows on TV on your own time, then might be for you.

What is Hulu?

Hulu is a service that allows you to stream (i.e. watch as they load) TV shows and movies on your computer, mobile device, or other media player connected to your TV.  It often gets the latest must-see TV shows faster than its competitors, and you can watch the latest episodes whenever it’s convenient for you.

Hulu is similar to Netflix in that you can watch as many movies and TV show episodes as you want with your subscription, as opposed to a service like Amazon Instant Video, where you have to pay per movie or episode that you rent or purchase.

What is Hulu Plus?

Hulu Plus is the paid subscription version of Hulu.  For about $8 per month, it affords you access to Hulu’s full library of TV shows and movies.  In addition, you can watch full seasons of TV shows, instead of just a 5-episode sample.  Finally, you can watch Hulu on devices besides your desktop computer.

You can get a free weeklong trial of Hulu Plus when you sign up for Hulu, and we’ll show you how to do it!  See our How to Sign Up for a Hulu Free Trial tutorial here.

How does Hulu work?  5 cool things to know

1. Free samples available

You can use Hulu for free, and you don’t even have to sign up for an account to watch movies and TV shows.  This gives you a small sample of what Hulu has to offer before you start using its paid subscription service.  And, as we mentioned, you can also start using Hulu Plus free for a week after you sign up.

2. The latest shows, all in one place

Hulu has many of the most popular shows on TV today, and usually gets new episodes much faster than its competitors.  So while other video streaming sites may take a month or two to get new episodes of some shows, Hulu can get new episodes within a week, or maybe even the next day!

3. Not just for your desktop

You can watch Hulu on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet computers, too.  It even works with some specialized TVs, digital media players, and video game consoles!

For a list of devices that Hulu can be accessed on, click here.

4. Keep a “to-watch” list

You can add certain movies or TV episodes to a “Queue”, so you can remember what you wanted to watch next and get back to it again quickly.  You can also add shows that you like to your “Favorites” list, and set Hulu up to add episodes from that show to your “Queue” as they become available.  You can even set Hulu up to send you email notifications when the newest episodes of your favourite shows are ready to watch!

5. Talk TV, your way

Feel like asking a question or getting something off your chest about a certain movie or TV show episode?  Link your Hulu account with your Facebook account and have your say.  You can also tell your friends about all of the great movies and shows that you’re watching on Hulu over Facebook, Twitter, and email!

What can I watch on Hulu?

Hulu has over 150 television shows and 200 movies, from timeless classics to modern blockbusters.  Some of the more popular ones include:

For more popular movies and shows, see our What Shows are on Hulu and What Movies are on Hulu articles, or click here to see Hulu’s full current lineup.


That’s a brief primer on Hulu!  Next, we’ll do an in-depth review of Hulu’s pros and cons.